Missal unveiling a highlight of bishops' plenary

  • October 25, 2011

OTTAWA - The new English translation of the Roman Missal was unveiled to Canada's Catholic bishops as they met for their annual plenary in Cornwall, Ont., Oct. 17-21.

On Oct. 17, Bishop Pierre Morissette, outgoing president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), presented Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, apostolic nuncio to Canada, with the second copy of the new missal. The missal’s first copy will be delivered to the Holy Father when Archbishop Richard Smith, the CCCB's new president, and members of the executive visit Rome in November.

Smith said the launch of the new missal provides a “great opportunity” for liturgical catechesis on the mystery of the Eucharist, the mystery of Real Presence that goes beyond the changes in the words and gestures that will begin on the first Sunday of Advent.

In the Eucharist we “do encounter the Risen Lord in a real, personal and transformative way,” said Smith, calling the events around the missal launch “a very exciting time.”

In private plenary sessions, the bishops approved a national pastoral plan on life and family developed by the CCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee on Life and Family in consultation with the Catholic Organization for Life and Family that will begin to roll out in the dioceses next year and launch nationally in 2013. The bishops also heard a report on the ongoing renewal of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace and Smith said the bishops are pleased with the progress in renewing CCODP’s Catholic identity.

The bishops also heard that the “best efforts” of the Moving Forward Together Campaign to meet the $25 million required in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement of dioceses and religious congregations that ran residential schools has only raised $2.5 million so far.

“Those numbers in no way reflect any lack of commitment on part of the bishops to this issue because every bishop across the country is deeply aware of issues facing our aboriginal people,” said Smith.

Smith blamed the shortfall on problems bishops are experiencing when they have a collection for any purpose during these difficult economic times “where people from one day to the next don’t know what net worth is.”

Saskatoon Bishop Donald Bolen gave a presentation on the state of ecumenical dialogue. Bolen acknowledged that ecumenical relationships can be difficult because positions some ecumenical partners have taken “highlight our separation from them,” Smith said. Bolen helped focus on the achievements over nearly 50 years, such as the common understanding on justification with the Lutherans, and progress on the understanding of the relationship between Scripture and Tradition with other Protestant denominations. There has also been progress on an understanding of the Eucharist and on Mary with the Anglicans.

“There is a long way to go,” Smith said, noting that Bolen reminded not only the bishops but everyone about the imperative of Christian unity because all Christians who “have been born again through Baptism into the Paschal Mystery of Jesus” know that He “manifested His will that we be one.”

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